Saturday, December 4, 2010

Things Wot I Learned Yesterday

...ah, bad grammar and spelling, you do start off the day well. <g> Not that this entry is my first writing effort for this morning, even though it's only nine-thirty; I've been a busy little bee and have been catching up on the CompuServe NaNo wrap-up thread. It's been an absolute pleasure, discovering and then being absorbed into that place, and I am really glad and grateful that I found it. I started flagging halfway through the month with NaNo, not out of a lack of motivation, but more of...loneliness? I had some friends who were doing NaNo too, but strangely? No-one seemed very interested in just talking about it. So, the NaNo threads at the Books and Writers Community became a real godsend...though I was completely behind on commenting on posts and snips by the end of it! So, I've spent an hour or so this morning catching up. It's been fantastic. There are so many talented and wonderful and generous writers there to share the ups and downs with, and I am really hoping to keep stealing their energy so I can keep writing through December and into the new year. <g> I'm also slightly embarrassed to admit that I've been cutting and pasting some of the kind comments on my own work into a little .doc file for when my Inner Editor's ranting and raving about how terrible my work is. We all need a little jar of sunshine we can open when the rain is beating the windows of our little writing cottages, and this will be mine. <3

In the meantime, what on earth was the badly-crafted title of this entry referring to? Well, as I said, I'm on hiatus from The Juniper Bones in the meantime. I just need to let it sit and simmer a bit before I can really go back and finish the draft (which is a bit sad, as Ico really wants to read it but won't until it's finished; I can understand that, as she knows all too well how long I can leave things unfinished!). But I have my other projects, and right now The Neverboy feels like it will be finished by the end of the year (!). After much procrastination last night, I finally forced myself to sit down in front of chapter ten and just got writing.

My relationship with this particular novel is an odd one. It disturbs me, somewhat, in that I can't remember quite how it even got started. I mean, I had decided to write a novel dedicated to my nephew, who was about one at the time, so this must have been in late 2007 or early 2008, as I only met him when I returned from the UK in November 2007. I figured that because he was so young I could safely take years writing it, because it wasn't like he could even read yet. <g> Although he's just turned four now, so he's catching up to me. With that said, the book's aimed at twelve/thirteen year olds, I think? It was originally a bit younger than that, but the sheer length of it, combined with the thematic tilt, means I aimed it a bit higher and increased the ages of both Kit and Calden to account for it. But yeah, I can't remember when I wrote most of it, or when the idea even hit me. Tagged on the end of my current .doc is a peculiar note:

01/11/08: 29,641

 I believe that I may have intended to do it for NaNo in 2008 and this was the count of the original .doc? The wordcount is now 107,340. So definitely too long, but that's standard in my work. It'll lose at least twenty thousand words of padding by the time it's fully readable and integrated. But I must have written most of it in 2009, because I don't remember doing anything much to it this year. But basically I had seen it through almost to the end; the manuscript I started playing with the other day had every chapter laid out, the last five save two in dialogue, and there was a huge chunk missing from chapter ten. This is because of how I constructed the story; the first ten chapters are a mini-story that eventually comes back to haunt Kit at the end of the novel, and for some reason I just couldn't finish it. (There's a theme here, of me not being able to finish a damn thing.) So, the last three nights, I have forced myself to come back to this chapter and just...write. Last night I was rewarded, and it was finished.

What was amazing to me, though, was what I needed to realise in order to write it. I understand Kit, my protagonist, a lot better now -- because what had stopped me short originally was the fact Kit was doing very little for himself. And if the hours of my life I have wasted at have taught me anything (aside from the fact I have no self-control on wikis), it is that main characters? Have to be the fulcrum on which the story turns. Kit's been very reactive throughout the whole story, mostly because of the situation but partly because of his personality, but to really progress as a character...he needed to act. And in chapter ten, he finally did. It sets up the ending, which I now understand a bit better. Before I had disliked it and refused to write it further because it sounded so weak. But I think...I know how to strengthen it. There are two antagonists in this story, and I hadn't realised until I reworked chapter ten and finished it that Lady Moon is the primary one. I always thought it was Ryenn. But the prelude antagonist. He'll be back. Lady Moon won't be (or at least, I hope she won't be). So, knowing and understanding this? Is what is going to push me over the finish line at last.

I also found that I started linking the tenth chapter back to how Kit and Cal met in the first, and the circularity of it all make it resonate and sing for me as I wrote. This was an incredible feeling, and I was hitting the Zone. I had planned to work on Tea For Two today, one of my short stories, but I think I might just stick with rereading some of the preceding chapters of Neverboy before really getting into the dread chapter twenty-one (there's a weird monster in that, I'm not so hot with monsters!). What amazes me, though, is that even though I said I wouldn't write The Juniper Bones? Last night, while doing my reflection on NaNo for compuserve, I decided to post Morgan's entry in the Menhir journal, and...I had to fix up the gaps in it first. It wasn't painful at all, and the Inner Editor had nothing to say. I'm looking forward to getting back to Morgan and Eliot and Tess and the rest later, but for now...Kit wants me to find him his name. And I am off to do it. <3

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